Category Archives: Games

Windows Live Messenger Coming To XBOX

Sometimes I think you can just be too connected. And that’s the reason why I turn off Communicator at work, because people can randomize me to the point where little gets done.

Of course I’m not the target audience for this XBOX announcement anyway since I don’t even have a ‘360’. In fact, I’m still waiting for the prices of the Atari 2600 VCS to come down in price before I jump into this whole console deal.

Here’s the press release.

Financial Support For D&D Clubs!

Wizards of the Coast “Dungeons and Dragons” division is providing US$20,000 to D&D clubs in an effort to help continue, expand and perpetuate the roleplaying genre. This initiative is being billed as the “Expand your Role” Grant. (Clicky)
DND Table

Who is eligible?

Any roleplaying club that is passionate enough to apply! Note: And must be governed or sponsored by a college or university!

How many Expand Your Role Grants are available?

A minimum of 15 grants will be issued to clubs.

How much financial support is available through the Expand Your Role Grant?

Clubs can apply for a grant amount ranging from a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $1,000. Applicants must provide a detailed budget for their anticipated costs.

How do I apply?

Using the online application provided (25k), tell them in 500 words or less how a Grant from Dungeons & Dragons will benefit the club, provide a brief background/history on the club, and describe how D&D has made a positive impact on your life.

Check-Mate for Indian Chess Player after Phone Ploy

An Indian chess player, Umakant Sharma, participated in the country’s qualification rounds to get into the national chess championships. And he was winning games…lots of games. Accruing points on such a furious pace over an 18 month period that India’s chess tournament officials were suspicious of Sharma and his rivals were bemused.

Sharma was finally caught cheating after all this time. How did he do it?

He had stitched a bluetooth device into a cloth cap that he always pulled over his ears. He was communicating through the device with accomplices on the outside who were using a computer and feeding his moves to him.

Sharma has been banned from the tournaments for 10 years.

You can read the full Reuters story on eWeek.

Addictive World Map Game

I know you’re probably tired of the zillions of Flash based games on the net, for the most part I am too.

But here’s one I recently heard about that I find fun. Well I find it fun ’cause only a geek would really find something like identifying countries on a map of the world fun: World Map.

I knew I was pretty weak with the African continent, but looks like I need to bone up on my geography in Eastern Europe due to the many new states that arose from the USSR.
World Map Game

Asteroid’s Revenge

Remember the classic coin-op game Asteroids? Below is a screenshot of the original. Well now you can relive the game but with a twist! In this version *you* are the asteroid, out for revenge against the spaceships trying to avenge your brethern destroyed in the original 1979 classic. Asteroid’s Revenge is a flash based game hosted on Games Cheat Codes.

This game has pretty much all of the look and feel of the original, you turn and apply thrust to the asteroid the same way you did with the ship, your goal of course is to destroy the ships! The fun will last for about 2 minutes before it gets old, but if you were a fan of the original you at least have to try this out for that long (I didn’t see the UFO in that time, please let me know if you do). Enjoy!

  Asteroids

3 Scrabble Records Shattered by Two ‘Average Joes’ in One Game

I’m not a big Scrabble fan, but I’m aware of the several hundred Scrabble clubs and the professional Scrabble tournaments held around the country throughout the year.

On Oct. 12, in the basement of a church in Lexington, Mass., a carpenter named Michael Cresta scored 830 points in a game of Scrabble.

His opponent, Wayne Yorra, who works at a supermarket deli counter, totaled 490 points.

The two men set three records for sanctioned Scrabble in North America:

  1. Most points in a game by one player (830)
  2. Most total points in a game (1,320)
  3. Most points on a single turn (365, for Cresta’s play of QUIXOTRY).

‘Quixotry’ means a quixotic action or thought.

You can read the play by play on Slate with analysis of the most critical moves, here are views of the final board, one from a camera phone.

 Scrabble Camera Phone   Scrabble Final Board

Interested in starting a Scrabble club, finding a club or joining a club? Here you go.

 

History of Computer Chess (video)

It’s not ‘new’ news, but in 2004 the Computer History Museum in Mountain View held a panel discussion on the History of Computer Chess, you can watch the technical discussion on Google video here.

The thing that has always fascinated me about computer chess programs is their relation to AI advancements and the future possibilities in that area. I’m still waiting for my personal ‘agent’. If you have any interest in Computer Chess programming here’s the Beginners page at GameDev.net.

Sargon IIIAnyone remember the classic Sargon on the Apple // or Z-80? Good times!

From the site:

Playing chess by computer began in the early 1950s, nearly as soon as computers became available.  As a human activity, chess is believed to require thinking, yet in 1997 a massively-parallel supercomputer, drawing on over four decades of continual advances in both hardware and software, defeated the best human player in the world.  Does playing chess require thinking? Or is human thinking perhaps a form of calculation, parts of which a computer can mimic? What is the tradeoff between knowledge and search? Was Claude Shannon’s 1950 prediction that studying computer chess might lead to applications in other areas fulfilled? This panel, comprising seminal contributors to the solution of this challenge including two of AI s leading pioneers will discuss these and other questions as well as the origin and development of computer chess and what it tells us about ourselves and the machines we build.

Fishopolis: Revolutionizing Smartphone Arcade Gaming?

FishopolisRivia is a new software developer that focuses on Windows Mobile devices.  They have a new game out called Fishopolis with a unique controlling system which utilizes the phone’s camera to detect movement. A trial version with access to the first 3 levels is available from their site, or you can purchase it from Handango for US $12.95.

Here’s a more detailed description from the Rivia site:

Fishopolis is Real-Action Shoot’em Up game. Your task is to shoot fish, but what the real fun part is that you are using your whole phone to aim. Simply – to aim to the right, move your phone to the right. Fishopolis is using the image from the phone’s camera to detect movement. Now this is real action!

Go through the quest for Fishotreasure which consists of 11 levels with 8 different types of fish to shoot or try yourself in Time and Countdown challenges.

This is the game that will make you feel that your smartphone is really Smart!
Features:
– Unique controlling system, based on camera movement
– 3 game modes – Story Mode, Time Trial, Countdown Mode
– Story Mode with 11 levels
– 8 different types of fish with unique behavior to shoot at
Amazing Graphics and Sound experience
– Possibility to keep the high scores for each game mode

[found via msmobiles]

A playable piece of art from Capcom

Capcom’s latest game for the PS2 is Okami. The big deal around town is that they’ve taken a decidedly different approach to making games more visually appealing. Instead of trying to make it more lifelike, they’ve delivered a fantasy game rendered as a traditional Japanese watercolor painting.

Gamespot has tons of screens to revel in the old and new art forms blended together, here’s their Okami site with gameplay videos and very favorable reviews. Enjoy.

Okami thumbnail